Kiran Singh Sirah

Kiran Singh Sirah

Every Meal Is a Story

Like our stories, food is something we can share to build common ground and to connect with one another.

Kiran Singh Sirah grew up in a British home with a powerful tradition that frequently involved cooking with his large, extended family. Often, hundreds would gather to prepare and cook a meal. Sirah’s mother was his primary teacher in everything from art to cooking. She would invite her son to join her as she prepared meals in the kitchen—a lesson that was always accompanied with family stories from their heritage.

Sirah believes that regardless of what’s going in to the world, we can invite a neighbor, a friend, or even someone who has a very different view of the world to share a meal and break bread. One of the simplest—and most powerful—things we can do is enjoy a meal with a friend or even a stranger. Whether you’re breaking bread or sharing a curry, it’s one of the best times to share a story.
KIRAN SINGH SIRAH is president of the International Storytelling Center (ISC), an educational and cultural institution dedicated to enriching the lives of people around the world through storytelling. The ISC organizes the world’s premiere storytelling event, the National Storytelling Festival, and supports applied storytelling initiatives across a variety of creative industries.

Prior to his appointment at ISC, Sirah developed many award-winning arts, cultural and human rights programs in cultural centers across the United Kingdom and Ireland. These programs have received recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Commission. He has spoken at the Library of Congress and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has led stories for peace-based discussions for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, for U.S. commanders at Fort Benning military base in Georgia, for the U.S. Department of State, and for the U.S. Department of Defense. Sirah is widely recognized for advancing storytelling as a tool for building social empathy and intercultural understanding.

In 2015, Sirah was invited to the White House in support of storytelling efforts for national grassroots peace-building efforts. An advisory member to UNESCO Scotland and a Rotary Peace Fellow, he has developed articles, talks, and conference papers about interdisciplinary approaches to relationship building in communities and around the globe. Sirah’s interest lies in the power of human creativity, arts, storytelling, social justice, and the notion of a truly global multicultural society. In 2017, Sirah was named a Champion of Peace during Rotary Day at the United Nations.

Sirah believes that storytelling not only has the power to enrich lives but also holds the key to building a conflict-free society.